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ISSUE 90 - November 2009
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The Biggest Little Airshow in Canada

By Kevin Moore, Contributing Editor & Photographer
Roslin, Ontario, Canada

Always popular at any airshow in Canada are the Canadian Forces Snowbirds, seen here with the Canadian Forces Centennial of Flight CF-18 Hornet (far left) lined up on the tarmac before the show.

It is known as the “biggest little airshow in Canada” and the Brantford Airshow stands up to its reputation. Brantford is a relatively small community with a municipal airport that hosts a flying school, an small assortment of aviation related businesses and a set of hangars housing a couple of dozen private aircraft. For the most part, it looks like, and is, a typical small town airport anywhere in Canada, or the USA for that matter, but the heart of the people involved in it, and more importantly, the airshow that the community hosts is, bar none, exceptional.

Canadian Warplane Heritage brought several aircraft, including their B-25 Mitchell, left, and the Avro Lancaster, right.

Fly in to Brantford and you land on nicely maintained 5000’ or 2600’ tarmac runways with wide taxiways and a large ramp area. There’s a modest flying club with a small cafeteria, a great place for a breakfast or lunch fly-in. Tie-downs are available and a ride to town can always be found or is just a short taxi ride away. Not the busiest place to fly into, but then, there’s nothing wrong with that.

CWH RCAF Expeditor, left, and Dakota, right, landing before the start of the airshow.

However, during airshow week, there comes the sound of supersonic jet, radial and inline engines. The skies over Brantford become quite a bit busier with fighter jets, World War II and vintage aircraft, and biplanes all making their way to the airport. Some fly in early for practice day and others on the morning of airshow but they all come for the same reason…. The airshow!

Centennial of Flight CF-18 Demonstration Hornet performing a flypast, left. Pilot of the Centennial of Flight Hornet, Tim “Donor” Woods, waves to the crowd after completing his demonstration, right.

The 2009 show saw a popular sight in Canadian skies this summer with the appearance of the Centennial of Flight aircraft which includes the Canadian Airforce Centennial CF-18 Hornet, Vintage Wings of Canada F-86 Golden Hawks, Hawk One Sabre, and the Canadian Airforce Golden Centennaires Tutor. Joining these 3 aircraft on the tarmac was a replica of the Silver Dart, the first powered airplane that flew in Canada.

CWH Fairey Firefly takes off to join in the vintage aircraft flypast, left. The CWH Lysander just before touch-down, right.

Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum brought several of their aircraft in for the show including the always popular Avro Lancaster as well as the Canucks Unlimited Dakota, RCAF Expeditor (Beech 18), the Fairey Firefly, the Fleet Finch and Cornell, and their newest flying addition, the Canadian Car and Foundry Lysander.

The Canadian Forces Skyhawks Parachute Demonstration Team opened the show carrying the Canadian flag, left, and the US flag, right.

Opening the show were the Canadian Forces Parachute team, the Skyhawks, who always put on a good demonstration. Also visiting the show was a Fouga CM 170-VI, three CHAA (Canadian Harvard Aircraft Association) Harvard aircraft which performed their wonderful aerial ballet for the crowds, and locally owned and flown L-29 Delphin. A nice addition to the show were two T-28 Trojans, Manfred Radius in his sailplane, Rick Volker performing aerobatics in his Sukhoi SU-26M along with pilot Mike Guolian in the Castrol Extra 330, and rounding out the show, the Canadian Forces Snowbirds.

CHAA Harvards landing before the show, left. Mike Goulian in his Castrol Extra 330 performed a high G aerobatic performance for the crowd, right.

There were many other things to see at the show including the EAA, Haldimand Rifles, and Aircraft Spruce to name a few. The Jet Aircraft Museum – The T-33 Group of Canada out of London, Ontario which now has 6 former RCAF/Canadian Forces T-33’s in London undergoing restoration in hopes of bringing them to full flying condition. The Brantford Royal Canadian Air Cadet 104 Squadron and Sea Cadet Corps provided support for the show assisting with traffic and bringing water to volunteers. There were many other folks supporting the show including dozens of volunteers who, without them, the show probably wouldn’t happen and most certainly would not be as successful as it is..

The Jet Aircraft Museum brought their trailer showing off one of their T-birds on the back. They also brough lots of hats, t-shirts and information in an attempt to win interest and members, left. With an estimated 35,000 people in attendance, the Brantford Airshow certainly attracted lots of attention, right.

Crowds were plentiful with more than 35,000 people in attendance for the one-day show, a testament to the quality of the airshow that is offered. Spectators had lots to see and do, and plenty to eat with lots of vendors selling things from water to Coke and burgers to popcorn. Young and old, airplane fans and pilots, all watched the show take place in beautiful blue September skies and they were not disappointed. The show went off without a hitch, as always, and I’m sure they’ll all look forward to the 2010 biggest little airshow in Canada.

Those who stuck around after the show had the opportunity to see the Centennial of Flight CF-18 up close and personal, including young David Burtenshaw from Burlington, Ontario, left. As the sun set over the Brantford skies, airplanes departed for home, including the CWH Fairy Firefly.

As the sun set on a long but excellent airshow day, those who hung around and waited for crowds and traffic to disperse were given an opportunity to see the Centennial of Flight CF-18 Hornet close-up with pilot Tim “Donor” Woods signing autographs. They were also treated to a wonderful sunset to end the day, with many visiting aircraft departing for home until they once again return to the skies over Brantford.

Two visiting airplanes that performed in the show were these T-28 Trojans.

The Vintage Wings of Canada Centennial of Flight, Golden Hawks F-86 Sabre, Hawk One, impressed the crowd, left. The Canadian Forces Snowbirds Aerobatic Display Team is always a crowd favourite, right.

Locally owned and flown, L-29 Delphin performed several high-speed passes for the airshow crowd, left. As the sun set, the CWH Avro Lancaster departed the Brantford airport for home, right.

What better way to end the day than to listen to the awesome sound of 4 Rolls-Royce Merlin engines powering the venerable Avro Lancaster into the quiet, orange evening skies of Southern Ontario, heading for home.

For information about the Brantford Airshow:

For more information about Brantford airport:

For information about Canadian Warplane Heritage:
For information about the Centennial Heritage of Flight:
For more information on Vintage Wings of Canada:
For more information about the Jet Aircraft Museum:
For more information on Aircraft Spruce:
For more information on Air & See Cadets:

By Kevin Moore, Contributing Editor & Photographer

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